by Staff Writers
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) June 23, 2014
Two roadside bombs struck a patrol in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh on Monday, killing five Kurdish security forces members, a spokesman said.
The blasts, which went off in the Rabia area near the Syrian border, also wounded three Kurdish security personnel, according to Halkurd Mulla Ali, spokesman for the ministry responsible for the Kurdish peshmerga forces.
A major militant offensive, spearheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but also involving other groups, has this month overrun large areas of five Iraqi provinces, including Nineveh.
Iraqi security forces wilted when faced by the onslaught, in some cases abandoning uniforms, positions and vehicles to flee.
Forces from Iraq's Kurdish region took control of the Rabia border crossing between Nineveh and Syria after Iraqi forces withdrew in the early days of the militant drive.
The offensive has cleared the way for Iraqi Kurds to begin realising long-held territorial dreams, moving their forces into areas that the federal government has long opposed them adding to their autonomous northern region.
But this has also put Kurdish forces directly in the line of fire from militants.
23 detainees killed in Iraq convoy attack: officials
Seven gunmen also died in the ensuing clashes, according to a police captain and a doctor at a hospital in the town of Hashimiyah, in Babil province. It was not immediately clear how the detainees died.
It is the second instance of a large number of detainees being killed since the start of a militant offensive on June 9 that has overrun large areas of five different provinces.
At least 44 prisoners were killed during a militant assault on a prison in the city of Baquba last week.
Accounts differed as to who was responsible for the Baquba killings, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's security spokesman saying the prisoners were killed by insurgents carrying out the attack, and other officials saying they were killed by security forces as they tried to escape.
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